This month, we thought it would be fun to share some of the typical questions about color that we get from our readers.  Especially because, as color covers such a large area of our lives and interests, the questions cover a wide variety of subjects, too!

We also think it would be interesting to continue to answer your color questions in an ongoing column. If you have any burning questions about color, just respond ask it in the comments below or email us – or reach out on social media. We’ll publish answers to those questions that we think will interest the majority of our readers and share them in our monthly emails. We can’t wait to hear your questions!

Let’s dive right in:

Q: Is it true that cool colors are relaxing and tranquilizing? Why so?

A snow scene shows how blue colors provide a sense of coolness.A: It’s mostly a matter of association. The colors we associate with the “outer limits of sky, sea and far distances, such as icy bluish-whites, blues, blue-greens, misty lavender, and blue-grays are thought of as cool. For example: imagine yourself on skis about to take a cross country hike in the early morning before the sun comes up.  The terrain is snow-packed including snow-flocked tall spruces and a surrounding greenish-blue lake that are visible under a brisk lavender-blue sky.  Your mind instantly assigns a cool temperature to that scene and to those hues.

Q: I am getting married in the spring.  My gown is a rose layered organza and my attendants are wearing coordinating lighter rose tones.  It will be a daytime wedding.  My boyfriend thinks he and the ushers should wear black ties, cummerbund, and pocket squares in black.  I think that black is too somber with the delicate colors, especially for daytime hours.  What do you think?

A young man in a suit with a wine-colored bow tie and pocket square as an answer to a question about color.A: At one point in time, black was considered too “weighty” with delicate pastels.  However, in the last few seasons, encouraged by top designers using extreme contrasts with pastels, that old concept isn’t etched in stone anymore.  What would be far more interesting, and a good color-coordinated compromise, would be substituting a deep rose wine shade for the ushers’ accessories instead of the dark black.  Have some rosy pinks and wine colors woven into your floral settings, bouquets, and boutonnieres and it will all be picture-perfect!

Q: Do dark leggings or tights always make your legs seem slimmer? A young woman poses in black tights and black skirt to answer a question about color.

A:  Beware of “never” and “always” as there are no absolutes when dealing with color. Dark tights worn with dark shoes or boots and darker colored hemlines will slenderize the leg because the eye will travel vertically from hemline through the tights and shoes/boots to make you appear slimmer (and taller).  However, if your hemline or shoes are light, the vertical line is broken and attention is drawn to the horizontal line of contrast and will make your legs look broader.  Even lighter tights or pantyhose can make the legs appear slimmer, provided your hemline is light too. Think vertical for a slenderizing effect.  

Q: My officious mother-in-law and I have a running battle (we have had several), but I know she is wrong on this one)!) She says that a well-designed room always imitates nature. There should be a deeper ground below (carpet or flooring) and a lighter sky above (walls and ceiling). Please tell her she is wrong!

A: Your mother-in-law is dating herself.  Up until the 1980s, many decorators did hold to that premise, but it doesn’t hold true today.  Color can be used to create all sorts of wonderful illusions and effects and you don’t need to have dark below and light above.  The use of color depends largely on the mood that you want to create, as I explained in one of my books: “Colors for Your Every Mood”.    

We hope you enjoyed these questions – and, again, please submit any questions of your own in the comments below (or email us at We’ll publish answers to those questions that are most relevant to the majority of our readers.